A senior UN official claimed there is a possibility that up to 20,000 civilians are trapped in areas of Mosul, the last location held by ISIS fighters, Agence France Presse reports.
“The people that are still trapped inside of these pockets are in terrible condition,” Lise Grande, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, informed AFP. From food shortages, to simply being stuck in the crossfire in the fight between ISIS and Iraqi forces, she emphasized the “extreme danger” the civilians are in.
“Our estimate at this stage is that in the final pockets of the Old City, there could be as many as 15,000 civilians, possibly even as high as 20,000,” Grande stated. “The (IS) fighters that are still there are still directly targeting civilians if they try and leave.”
She informed AFP that, as a result of the battle against ISIS, there have been approximately 700,000 citizens displaced.
Iraqi forces have been battling the Islamic State for more than eight months in an effort to retake the city. There has been significant process, in that ISIS no longer controls all of Mosul. Instead, it is reported they hold a small portion of land along the West Bank of the Tigris River.
To be exact, the terrorist organization holds about 15 acres, a minuscule 3 percent of Mosul.
The deputy commanding general for the land forces in Operation Inherent Resolve, Brigadier Hugh McAslan, informed The Business Insider that forces have made “great progress in what has been a very difficult fight.”
Although there are reportedly only a “couple of hundred” ISIS fighters that remain, the fight is not over.
“There’s still work to do though,” said McAslan. “And we’ll continue to remain steadfast with our Iraqi partners until ISIS is defeated throughout Iraq.”